Did you know that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine? And that, according to Cisco, “video traffic will be 82 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 per cent in 2016”? With the popularity of video content continuing to surge, it makes sense to get in on the act by harnessing its power to help grow your business. If you’re new to video, you might be wondering which platform best meets your needs, and it’s the goal of this article to help you figure that out.
What to think about when choosing a video platform
It’s easy to get excited about the huge potential of video marketing, but before diving headfirst into making videos, it’s worth doing a bit of groundwork to help you figure out what will work best for your specific business. This, in turn, will inform your choice of video platform. Some of the questions you might want to think about are:
- What are your goals for creating video content? Do you want to increase your sales? Boost your brand recognition? Drive traffic to your website? Gain more followers on social media? Something else?
- Who is your target audience? How old are they, and what sites do they tend to spend the most time on?
- What kind of video content does your audience want to see? What are your competitors offering, if anything, and what platforms are they using? How could you do better?
- What will you be using video for? Embedded demonstrations for your product pages, perhaps? Live broadcasts? Viral content? Instructional ‘how-to’ videos?
- Will you want to generate income from your videos? Or would you prefer to offer your viewers an ad-free video experience?
As with any kind of marketing, being clear about your aims and who you’re marketing to is an essential first step. The world of video is highly competitive, and videos can be time-consuming to produce, so before you even pick up a camera, you should have a clear video marketing strategy in place to avoid wasting time and money. Here’s a useful guide from The Drum to help you get started.
YouTube versus Vimeo
Just because YouTube is the biggest video platform doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best for your needs. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the two top platforms, YouTube and Vimeo, before touching on social media video broadcasting.
- Free, including unlimited storage
- 1 billion active users each month
- Owned by Google, so performs well in search
You can’t argue with YouTube’s massive popularity, so if you’re looking to reach the biggest possible audience, this free platform is likely to be your best bet. If you’re going to be broadcasting live, you might also be interested to know that YouTube’s mobile app is even more popular than Netflix for time spent streaming per month.
Because it’s part of Google, videos on YouTube tend to do well in Google searches – a particularly good opportunity to get your brand ranking for longer keywords (instructional ‘how to’ keywords for your niche, for example), which are less competitive. Even better, YouTube is completely free, and that includes unlimited storage for your videos. You’ll also get in-depth analytics to help you assess the performance of your videos and keep track of ROI.
From a viewer perspective, the downside to YouTube, arguably, is its ads – particularly the unskippable ones that sometimes play before a video starts, which undoubtedly annoy many users. That said, YouTube ads are a great way to generate revenue for your business by linking Google AdSense with your account so that you earn money from adverts featured before your videos.
Not only that, but you can also use YouTube to reach new customers by advertising on it yourself, with efficient targeting meaning that your ads get seen by those most likely to be interested in them. Indeed, YouTube claims that its advertising platform has seen the number of small and medium-sized businesses using it double in the past two years.
- Vimeo Basic is free, but Vimeo Business costs £40 a month
- 240 million monthly viewers and 35 million registered users
- Ad-free HD videos
Vimeo’s audience of 240 million monthly users pales into insignificance compared with YouTube’s, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. More users means more videos being uploaded, and that means there’s less competition for your content on Vimeo than there is on YouTube. A smaller platform also means more scope for features such as Staff Picks, where Vimeo staff choose their favourite videos to highlight.
The lack of ads on Vimeo is a major plus in favour of this platform from a user experience perspective, but conversely, if you want to generate income from advertising, that’s not going to be possible on this platform. What’s more, unlike YouTube, which is free, Vimeo’s Business package costs £40 a month – and it’s £70 a month if you want to be able to do live streaming. You’ll only get 500MB of storage a week on the basic account, but this rises to 5TB with the Business package and 7TB for Vimeo Premium. More advanced analytics are only available for paid accounts, too.
Another notable difference between the two platforms is privacy options. Vimeo has more to offer than YouTube’s basic public/unlisted/private choices, with extra options including the ability to add a password to your video, share with followers only, or hide it on the main Vimeo site. This latter feature is great if you’re just looking for a platform to host your videos with the aim of embedding them on your website – for demonstrations on your product pages, for example, which you wouldn’t necessarily want to appear on your main channel.
Another thing that makes Vimeo great for embedding is that you can customise its embedded player to a far greater extent than you can with the YouTube equivalent. You’ll be able to match the colours to your website, decide what viewers see before and after your video, and even add your company logo. Even better, if you decide to change its appearance, you only have to do so for one video and it will automatically update the others for you.
Using social media for video broadcasting
Of course, dedicated video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo aren’t your only option for sharing video content. You can also use social media to upload and share your videos, and each social network has a slightly different offering in this area. To be clear, we’re talking about uploading videos directly to each social network, rather than using your profiles on these networks to share links to videos you’ve already uploaded to your YouTube or Vimeo channels.
Your main options for using social media for video are:
- Facebook – with its algorithm favouring video content, Facebook is a great place to upload videos if you want to maximise engagement (likes, comments and shares). You can also do live streaming via Facebook Live, which allows viewers to interact with your videos in real time. Facebook has doubled the number of users YouTube has (2.23 billion), and videos on Facebook couldn’t be easier for viewers to share with the click of a button, so the potential reach is enormous. According to Facebook, in the last year “daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts has quadrupled” globally.
- IGTV – you can use Instagram Stories or your main feed for shorter videos, but for longer video content the recently launched IGTV is worth a look. If your business is a natural fit for Instagram, this new offering is a good way to share more in-depth content with your online community. Time spent watching Instagram videos has risen by 80% in the last year, according to its parent company, none other than Facebook.
- Twitter – this can be a good place for shorter video content, such as trailers or news stories, or clips with viral potential. You can also record live video content, which is powered by Periscope and gets posted as a tweet as soon as you start recording.
- Snapchat – famous for its playful filters, Snapchat is a fun way to broadcast to a younger audience from live events, such as product launches, influencer events or other relevant gatherings. Content only lasts for up to 24 hours, so it has a greater sense of urgency that can work wonders for engagement.
Choosing which video platform is right for your business ultimately comes down to what your aim is from creating video content. For example, if you’re mainly wanting to embed video content on your website, Vimeo or YouTube will better suit your needs (and Vimeo in particular thanks to its customisation options). If you want to widen your reach and increase brand awareness, social media can be a great way to get your content in front of a wider audience, and each like, comment or share increases its exposure. If you really can’t decide, there’s no harm in trying several platforms and seeing which ones bring the greatest success.
For lots more advice on using video to promote your business, have a read of some of our other Video posts.